The Pedestrian – Ray Bradbury

“The Pedestrian” is a short story written by Ray Bradbury. It is set in a futuristic time not too far from the present, 2053. The story follows a man who is unlike the people of the time, who sit at home watching screens and never experience the world. This man goes for a walk every night at 8 p.m and has down for 10 years. He wanders the streets for hours wondering what people are watching on their screens. On this particular night he is arrested by the police, “‘What are you doing out?’ ‘Walking,’ said Leonard Mead. ‘Walking!'” The police find it hard to believe that Leonard is out for a recreational stroll and arrest him.

Written in 1951 this short story held a particularly accurate prediction. “In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not once in all that time.” In this future time people are so caught up in their devices that they don’t even have time for walking, or don’t see it as a needful thing to do. This relates to real life as the technology revolution is sweeping through. Technology has gotten to the point in everyday life that people can’t go five minutes without checking their phone. But not for just recreation, most of the learning in schools is done via technology or internet. It’s at the point where most of the student in my mum’s year six class at primary school have their own devices. I think Leonard, never seeing another human on his journey, also alludes to technology taking people away from the most important things in life. People are too caught up in the digital world that they don’t see the big picture of what is really important. I feel like Leonard is outside of the bubble and looking down on the funny people going about their funny little lives.

“Crime was ebbing; there was no need now for the police.” The police play an interesting role in this story.  Crime in this is almost non-existent I think due to the fact that no one is ‘out and about.’ No one thinks about committing crime because they are too caught up in their digital world. This is one part of the story which I disagree with. I do not believe that crime will ever be cured or ignored by people. Some people just have to ‘upset the norm.’ Leonard being pulled up by the police is an important event to put in the story. I think this shows how out of place he is, just walking down the street. The police don’t believe he could be walking for recreation, because it’s such a bizarre sight in these times.

Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson

Hacksaw Ridge is a film based on a true story which follows Desmond T. Doss, a WWII medic. The film begins with Desmond signing up for the army. When he signs up he says he won’t touch a rifle. This makes his commanding officers and fellow soldiers detest him. The make it seem as if he will be completely useless on the battlefield and that he would be a liability. The officers try to get him thrown out of the army but he wins the court martial case and is put into the medic training program. Desmond’s platoon is then tasked with replacing a platoon which were trying to take Hacksaw Ridge. If the Americans take Hacksaw Ridge they could end the war with Japan, so it was high priority. The platoon goes up and pushes the ‘Japs’ right in. But the following morning, hundreds more Japanese soldier’s come from underground tunnels and overrun them. The Americans fall back to below the Ridge but Desmond stayed by himself to get the wounded. Desmond stayed the whole rest of the day and night, then into the next day lowering soldiers to safety. No one new who it was lowering them down until Desmond is chased off by the enemy.

Desmond won’t touch a gun because of an incident he had when he was younger. His dad was an alcoholic haunted by the 1st world war, and was violent towards his mother. This one incident he pulled out a gun and Desmond fought him for it having to hold it at his father for him to stop. Desmond vowed never to touch a gun again after that. I can understand the military’s point of the subject, what if Desmond had to protect himself or a comrade and the only way was by shooting the enemy. But I believe He more than made up for this ‘loss’ by saving so many. “With the world so set on tearin’ itself apart it doesn’t seem so bad to me to put a little bit of it back together.” This quote is one of Desmond’s statements at his hearing. He is saying that while everyone is killing he wants to be saving the wounded which they have forgotten.

Desmond also struggles with the idea of fighting, as he is a committed Christian. Being a Christian myself I have thought about what I would do if I had to go back in time to the 1940’s. God says to love your neighbour as yourself and love you enemy. How can I be loving my enemy’s if I am shooting them with a gun. There were plenty of Christians  who went to war and fought as normal soldiers. They justified by saying they were fighting for their belief’s, culture and country. I think if I had lived back then my thoughts on the idea would be completely different. Enlisting in the military was what everyone did and you were proclaimed a coward if you didn’t. I think if I grew up back then I definitely would have enlisted but maybe as a medic, to avoid the majority of killing.

I think this is one of the most compelling war films Iv’e watched. Desmond’s story is such a powerful one, “One more lord, give me one more.” When he was up the ridge by himself he kept asking God to give him one more wounded soldier to save. I love the irony of this story as well. Desmond is ridiculed by all his pairs and superiors for not wanting to touch a gun, then he goes on to carry 75 Men! From no mans land while his platoon shelter below. The strength of the man’s spirit is just next level.

Book Thief Essay

  1. Analyse how the experiences of one or more characters were used for a particular purpose.

‘The book Thief,’ a novel written written by Markus Zusak, follows the life of a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger, the main protagonist, held the first crucial experience when her brother dies on their journey to Molching. This death leaves a hole in Liesel that will need to be filled by something or someone. Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster father, was drafted into the first world war to fight for Germany. The experience leads to the son of the man who saved his life, a jew, staying in their basement. After the Fuhrer’s birthday rally Liesel rescues a book from a burnt heap. She was spotted by the mayor’s wife and the experience snaps Ilsa Hermann from her depression. Frau Hermann forms an attachment to Liesel which ends up saving her life towards the end of the book.

In the beginning of ‘The Book Thief’ Death, the narrator, comes for Liesel’s brother. “There was an intense spurt of coughing. And soon after – nothing.” Liesel is on a train journey to join a new foster family when her brother becomes suddenly ill and dies. The purpose for this experience was so that Death could be introduced to Liesel’s story. Death was intrigued by how she seemed to notice him, ‘catch him out.’ Markus Zusac uses Death’s interest in Liesel to stem the reader’s interest. If someone as mysterious as Death finds her interesting, then there must be something special to come? Liesel losing her brother leaves her distraught and with a feeling of loss. “The gravediggers…one of them couldn’t have been more than fourteen…a black book fell innocuously from his coat pocket.” Liesel steals the book to try and bring a sense of control back to her life. ‘The gravedigger’s Handbook,’ the stolen book, also becomes a gateway through which she learns to read. I find it fascinating how ‘The book Thief’ is written so that Death is always in the background; this is a metaphor for how Nazi Germany was in the 1940’s. Death was a constant companion, as there were so many ways one could be endangered. For the war itself, the danger of bombings and bullets; for going against Nazi ideals, the threat of being ‘taken away.’

Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster father was drafted into the first world war to fight for Germany. The morning before his platoon was to leave to battle, Hans’ Sergeant asked them, “Who’s got neat handwriting?” Hans’ friend, Erik Vandenburg, recommended him, “He obviously thought today wasn’t the appropriate time for his friend to die.” Hans’ entire platoon was killed, while he wrote letters for his commander. The purpose for Hans being saved by Erik, a Jew, was for him to form views which went against the Nazi party. Hans being fond of Jews makes him a likable character in the text. It also sets up for Erik’s son to seek refuge in the Hubermann’s basement. Max Vandenburg imposes a giant risk on the Hubermann’s during the Nazi regime. This risk becomes too great after Hans makes a big mistake, “Oh my God, Liesel, what have I done?” When Jews are being paraded through Molching Hans spots one struggling and rushes to help. Hans is wipped, along with the Jew, in front of the crowd of onlookers. The Hubermanns can’t look after Max any longer for fear of the police coming to inspect their house. This relates to the real world as German citizens who were found to be sheltering Jews during WWII were killed or imprisoned. This made it really hard for nice people to do the right thing in those times. The right thing often went against the policies of the Nazi’s which meant danger.

After the Fuhrer’s birthday rally, Liesel was drawn to the burnt piles of ‘Anti-German’ books. Liesel manages to rescue a live book from the ashes. “There was no mistaking the watched feeling.” Liesel noticed that the mayor’s wife had seen her take the book. During Liesel’s washing run she has to collect from the mayor’s house, but she is scared to approach the house, for fear of getting punished. When she gathered the courage to knock on the door Frau Hermann motions Liesel inside. The mayor’s wife, however, does not lead her to punishment, but to the mayor’s library, “It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.” Liesel couldn’t believe her eyes at the amount of books which the room contained. When we first meet Frau Hermann she is a depressed woman, absent from reality, forever mourning the loss of her son. The purpose for the relationship between Frau Hermann and Liesel is to snap the mayor’s wife out of her daze. Now that she has someone else to share her books with she becomes empathetic towards Liesel. This is shown when bombs are dropped on Himmel street and Liesel is left without family. Frau Hermann feels a responsibility to take Liesel in and give her a home. This relates to the real world as people can get ‘stuck,’ or trapped, in depressed states such as the one Ilsa Hermann was in. These mental illnesses are hard to break from, unless people seek help. In this case Liesel is the help Frau Hermann needed.

‘The Book Thief’ written by Markus Zusac is a well thought out book. Markus uses the experiences of a few characters, to set up events in the lives of others. Liesel Meminger’s brother dies at the beginning of the book to lead Death into her life. Her brother dying also makes her feel as though she has to take back control of her life. She does this by stealing a book, which later becomes her way of learning to read. Liesel’s foster father, Hans, was drafted to serve in WWI. Hans was saved by his Erik Vandenburg which leads to Max, his son, staying in their basement. Liesel steals another book, this time from a Nazi book burning rally. Frau Hermann watches her take the book and sees her love for books. This forebears Liesel reading in the mayor’s library and breaking Ilsa’s depression. Ilsa forms a friendship with Liesel which ends with Liesel living with her.

Liesel’s Maturation

Initially what would you imagine a person who steals books to be like?
Untrustworthy? Mysterious? Evil? How does Liesel differ from your initial notions of who a “book thief would be”?

When I first think of someone who would steal books, there would have to be a reason for stealing the books. No one steals books if they are poor, why wouldn’t they just steal money or food? There were reasons why Liesel was stealing books. She stole from Frau Hermann to get back at her for cancelling her mother’s washing job. She took the Grave Digger’s handbook for something to link her to her brother. It would have to be an expensive book to steal for greed or profit.

Explain how these early experiences in Liesel’s life would have affected her as a child? What do these early references to Liesel indicate about how she is going to interact with others? What will be her goals/ objectives in life? What conflicts/difficulties may she have as she matures?

Losing her brother and parents at the same time would take a toll on Liesel’s mental health. This would bring a lot of sadness into her life, and could make her not trustworthy towards adults. We see this as Liesel doesn’t want to get out of the car when first meeting the Hubermanns. This distrust could make her anxious towards meeting people and making friends. When she first arrives at the Hubermanns her first life goal is to find her mother until she realises that won’t be possible. She writes a letter to her mother and gives it to Hans who says he could send it to the adoption people to see if they could send it to her mother. Hans knew that Liesel’s mother would not be found or was ‘taken away.’

Why are books and words so important to Liesel? How does she learn that
words can be used for good and for evil?

Words are so important to Liesel because it shows a huge accomplishment in her life of learning how to read with Hans. Liesel was bullied by her pairs for not being able to read and write so she proved them wrong by learning. Books have different meanings to her throughout her life. ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook’ represents a link to her past as it is the last thing she owns from her old life. She learns that words can be used for evil from because she sees how the Nazi’s use words to persuade entire population to burn books. She learns how words can be used for good when she reads in the bomb shelter and calms everybody.

Why does Liesel vow that she will never kiss Rudy?
What is the purpose of Liesel and Rudy’s friendship in the text? How does this relationship alter Liesel’s life?

Liesel doesn’t want to kiss Rudy because he is a filthy saukerl. Liesel doesn’t think her friendship is more than just a friendship, so why should he get to kiss her. The kiss may have been real for Rudy at the start but ends up becoming a joke between them. This is until he dies and Liesel realises how much she actually loves him. The purpose of Rudy and Liesel’s friendship is to bring Liesel out of the shell she was in when she first came to Himmel street. He is an outspoken kid and makes Liesel open up as he is always there for her.

How does Max’s experience in Nazi Germany alter how Liesel views her own suffering?

Liesel realizes that her sufferings are nothing compared to Max’s.  Max is under constant threat of being taken away by the Nazi’s to a concentration camp or death camp. Max lives in a basement for an entire year never seeing daylight or the night sky once. The worst Liesel has to face is being hungry and getting made fun of for not being able to read. Liesel tries her best to make Max’s life interesting, however. Liesel brings him a whether report everyday, when it snows they even make a snowman in the basement.

Liesel continues to steal books throughout the novel. Why is this act important to her? What purpose does it serve?

Liesel only ever goes out of her way to steal one or two books, so its not the act of stealing that she does it for. It’s more that books are important/related to her in the novel not stealing books. Each book she recieves has a different meaning for Liesel. She steals them to give herself something new in her life. Something new to read and increase her reading ability. I think Liesel just liked reading the stories other people wrote, or just reading words on a page as that is a huge accomplishment she made.

Does Liesel live a fulfilled life? What does she ultimately teach us in the novel?

Liesel doesn’t live a fulfilled life. Liesel can only ever fill what was left of her life after the bombings because her life will have been very different if the bombs hadn’t been dropped on Himmel street. Her life actually stops completely getting a clean slate at two times in the book. The first one when she was left by her mother for a a life at the Hubermann’s. Then when the bombs killed her entire life on Himmel street. Liesel teaches the reader that not everyone in Nazi Germany was a Jew killing maniac and that their were people that completely disagreed with Hitlers regime.

Rudy Steiner – The Book Thief

Rudy Steiner is a blond haired, blue eyed boy who lives next to Liesel and becomes her best friend. Despite being the perfect German child Rudy doesn’t like injustice, like when hitler doesn’t shake the hand of Jessie Owens. Other injustices which Rudy doesn’t like is when his Hitler youth leader, Franz Deutscher, bullies a boy called Tommy Muller. Rudy stands up for Tommy saying how tommy has a bad ear and ends up receiving the same treatment which tommy does. Rudy idolises Jessie Owens, an olympic 4x Gold medallist. Rudy idolises him because he is the fastest man alive and Rudy wants to be the fastest man alive. An incident occurs in the book ‘The Jessie Owens Incident’ which everybody in the neighbourhood knows about. This is when Rudy paints himself black with charcoal and reenacts Jessie winning the hundred meter race. He does this at night at the local athletics track. His dad finds him and tries to explain that Rudy shouldn’t want to be like Jessie Owens because he is black. Rudy should be happy because he had safe blond hair and blue eyes. Rudy didn’t understand why he shouldn’t want to be black or jewish.

Rudy Steiner is very significant in the text as he becomes such a good friend to Liesel. It took awhile for Liesel to except Rudy as a friend. Once they are friends they do everything together, even beginning a thieving career. Rudy is always hungry, and his hunger pushes them to join a gang of apple thieves. This gradually merges to stealing books for Liesel. Rudy doesn’t understand at first why books are so important to Liesel that she would steal them; you can’t eat books? But Rudy soon realises that books have a very large meaning to Liesel when one is thrown into the water by a bully. Rudy chases the book down and dives in the freezing river water to fish it out for her. Rudy becomes the person which Liesel can confide in. He’s the one he can share her book stealing with, the one she can have fun with. When Liesel sees Max in the crowd of Jews which are marched through Molching, Rudy is their to drag her out and take her away from the guards. She then has to tell rudy about max. Rudy does something Liesel did not expect and decides to give food to the jewish prisoners, by laying bread on the ground before they come marching next time.

Because of his grades and athletic success, Rudy is chosen to be a part of an elite Nazi training program. Rudy’s parents refuse to let him go so Rudy’s father is conscripted into the army. Liesel’s father is conscripted around the same time so this gives them something else to share. Rudy decides in the text to go find his father, so he packs a bag and as he heads off Liesel finds him. Rudy also says that he is going to kill Hitler on his journey and they confess hatred for Hitler; Rudy for taking his dad and Liesel for taking Max and her father. Liesel persuades Rudy not to leave, however, before they reach the edge of town.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game, a novel written by Orson Scott Card, Follows the story of a young genius. The story is set in a future time after an alien invasion by the ‘Buggers.’ Ender Wiggen, the main protagonist, is born as a ‘third’ which means he receives ridicule from his pairs for being a third born child. This is because on Earth there is law against having more than two children. Ender is chosen to be  a part of a program in which they training up military leaders from a very young age. Ender is chosen not just to be a leader, but to be the general of the inter-planetary fleet, not that he knows it yet. This program is put in place so that humans could take the fight to the buggers, instead of waiting for their 3rd invasion. Most of the book is set in a space station orbiting Earth which is called ‘Battle School.’ The school is centred around a game called the battle room. This is a null-gravity game designed to allow the children gain leadership skills leading armies of 40 students. Sufficient to say that Ender exceeds expectations…

Ender faces trials in the form of bullies in this novel. His older brother Peter torments Ender as he is jealous that Ender keeps his monitor longer. The monitor is how the teachers of the battle school see if the child is right for the program; the monitor lets them see through their eyes and listen through their ears. Peter liked to play a game called Buggers and Astronauts which would involve Ender being a bugger with Peter being the astronaut. The astronaut would be allowed to harm the bugger in any way he pleased, because the buggers were the bad guys. The only one to break these fights was Ender’s older sister Valentine, “‘I’ll tell,’ Valentine said from the doorway.” Ender had to face two other bullies in the text, Stilson and Bonzo. Stilson he faught on Earth because he was jealous of Ender’s genius. Bonzo he faught on the battle school space station for the same reason. They both came at Ender with a gang, but Ender called them out for fighting one on one. Ender won both fights against bigger opponents by outsmarting them. Ender’s struggle relates to the real world as there are always people who feel like they are above others. No matter where you are on the world timeline there have always been bullies. There will never stop being bullies as there’s always things that people will be jealous about; people will always have things going on in their lives, which they take out on others as a form of catharsis. I have had tormentors in my life before, but I usually find a way to make it right with whoever is displeased with me. Either that or I’ve just ignored them till they got bored, it’s quite funny watching people struggle when they have no power over you. Never have I had anything as severe as Enders’ situations, so I’m not sure how I would act if I found myself in his position. The teachers didn’t help Ender with the issues they let him fight his battles himself. “He can never come to believe that anybody will ever help him out, ever.  If he once thinks there’s an easy way out, he’s wrecked.” Letting Ender fight the battle’s himself stopped the bullies from tormenting him, if the teachers stepped in he might never have reached his full potential. Teachers may be able to cause a temporary end to a fight, but they cannot take away the reason for the bullying.  In my opinion teacher intervention may even make bullying situations worse, as it can give the bully more ways to poke fun. However, if the bullying is a physical thing which maybe be dangerous to the person getting bullied something will have to be done. In this case the two parties will have to be removed from each other, depending on the severity. By removed I mean moved class, moved schools or even moved towns anything to stop them interacting. 

All through Ender’s journey he has expectations put on him to succeed. The first expectation, which was placed upon him as a 6 year old, before he has done anything spectacular, was the biggest. “I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.” The expectation was that he would be the one to lead the interplanetary fleet; he would be the one to take the fight to the buggers. International Fleet (I.F) leaders were putting all the fate of the human race onto a child, not even knowing what his capabilities would turn out to be. The next expectations were when he was promoted to be a commander in battle school. Since Ender was the one to become ‘the one,’ he was promoted much earlier than the rest of his year group (age 9 when usually and learns how to command the fleet. He has a lot more pressure on him during this time then he knows at the time. He is not told that the simulations used for training are actually ‘the real deal’ and that he is fighting the battles in real life. All these expectations have a negative effect on Enders state of mind. They put a constant burden on his back, this makes him want to give up and also pushes him to fatigue at multiple points. One would argue that the pressure placed on him brought out the best and brightest in him, which I think is true. However, Ender’s brilliance and fulfillment of the expectations came at a cost to his social life. He even loses all his friendships, to just being their commanding officer. I can relate to the pressure of fulfilling expectations, though the expectations are usually from myself. I have been taught that hard work will get me the where I want to be whether it be in school or sport, or music. There have been many times when I have had to turned down my friends for a chance to hangout, preferring to complete a project. However brainy Ender was, humans still need to interact with each other; interaction needs to be part of life.

Another challenge Ender faces, is that he doesn’t get to make many friends or the moment he does he is moved and loses them. This is due to the fact that Ender is being isolated by the battle school coordinators in an effort to bring out his creativity. “Graff had isolated Ender to make him struggle. To make him prove, not that he was competent, but that he was far better than everyone else.” They first isolated Ender by making everyone dislike him, then he had to win their appreciation by being the best. When he moved to command school they isolated him in a different way, “this time not by setting the other students into hating him, but rather by giving them no opportunity to become friends.” Ender never saw a face twice, never had the same teacher or student helping him. This made Ender ‘withdraw to his studies’ learning quickly and thoroughly, exactly what was expected. I can’t imagine the toll which the loneliness would have put on Ender; I don’t think it is good for anythe best. When he moved to command school they isolated him in a different way, “this time not by setting the other students into hating him, but rather by giving them no opportunity to become friends.” Ender never saw a face twice, never had the same teacher or student helping him. This made Ender ‘withdraw to his studies’ learning quickly and thoroughly, exactly what was expected. I can’t imagine the toll which the loneliness would have put on Ender; I don’t think it is good for anyone to be separated from other humans the way Ender was.  Loneliness can lead to social and communication struggles in one’s life. Loneliness for Ender has the effect that makes him very submissive to people’s manipulation. I do believe, however, that isolating him brought out his highest capabilities, as he had nothing to distract him from his study. In the 1600’s Isaac Newton wrote all the modern day laws of physics and calculus while being isolated in his home, during the days of the bubonic plague. I know that collaboration with our pairs does induce creativity, but I don’t believe it beats the creativity that can spout from having a good ‘ol’ think. Enders isolation reminds me of ‘The Maze Runner’ a book written by James Dashner. In this book a bunch of teenage boys are isolated in a giant maze and have to figure a way out. This is so they can measure their brain activity to find a cure to disease. Isolation can bring out our brains’ best capabilities, but it will never help us to develop socially. I could come up with the most brilliant physics discovery, but if I don’t know how to make friends and communicate, what’s the point.

Significance of books in the Book Theif

The Gravedigger’s Handbook:
– It marked the begginning of Liesel’s book stealing carrier. This is important because the first time she stole a book wasn’t bad for her, it was more of a positive effect. This meant that stealing books was not a bad thing in her life and it lead to more stealing further down the track.
– This book was important because it was the key to her past. Everything before her stealing this book is locked up now inside this book. This could make this book a form of catharsis for her, that whenever she is feeling things she could get rid of the emotions by reading this book.
– This book is also important because it sparked her love for reading and was the book through which she learned to read.

The Shoulder Shrug:
– This book is important as it connects the mayors wife and Liesel. Frau Hermann sees Liesel steal the book and doesn’t think of a rebellious child but one that loves reading. So, when Liesel arrives at the Hermanns’, she invites Liesel in to her library. This is a connection which lasts through the whole book.
– This book also represents a rebellion in Liesel against the Nazi party. She doesn’t know why they are burning books because for her books are all positive things.

The Dream Carrier:
– This is a book which Liesel stole to read to Max when he is in a deep sleep, to try and wake him up. This is important because it shows how their relationship has grown. It was first that Liesel was scared of this strange man who came in the middle of the night, but soon they shared their dreams and became great friends. Now Liesel is scared that Max may die so tries to wake him up with this book.
– The story is about an abandoned child which relates to both Max and Liesel as they are both abandoned now, without parents. Though, Hans and Rosa become both of their ‘parents.’ This is important because it brings Max and Liesel closer so that they become not just friends but a brother, sister relationship.

Mein Kampf:
– This book is important as it is Max’s saviour. It is used as a camouflage for his journey to Himmel street. The Germans would think that he was just another German making his way.
– This book is important because it connects Max and Hans to each other. This book told Max that Hans was willing to help him as it contained a map and a key for their house.

Books in the Book Thief

The Grave Digger’s Handbook:
This book was picked up by Liesel from the burial site of her brother. It was dropped by a gravedigger-in-training. The Grave Digger’s Handbook represents Liesel’s last connection to her brother. It is also the book which taught her to read and sparked her interest in books. When Hans finds out Liesel can’t read, he starts midnight reading classes, reading The Grave Digger’s Handbook. This book also represents her last connection to her old life before the train ride, it is the last connection to her past.

The Shoulder Shrug:
This is the book which Liesel rescued from the burning of the bonfires. It was deemed burnable because it had a Jew protagonist. This may be the reason Liesel was so accepting towards max when he arrived. She took the book from the fire fully understanding the consequences of being caught. She took the book home in her jacket with it still burning which means she cared more about the words which she would read then the burns she would receive. This book represents rebellion against the Nazi rampage against books. They wanted to get rid of anything that didn’t relate to Germany being superior and they burned any reference to Jewish Germans. Connects her to Frau Hermann as she sees Liesel taking the book from the fire.

The Dream Carrier:
This is the first book which Liesel steals from Frau Hermann. After Liesel is given a note from Frau Hermann saying they are sorry they can no longer pay to have their washing done, Frau Hermann gives Liesel this book as a token. Liesel doesn’t want the book because she is so angry at them for cancelling Mama’s last job. She doesn’t want it as a gift she does, however, want to read the book so she decided to steal it. This is her way at getting back at Frau Hermann for cancelling the job, another rebellion. She also wants to be in that library again, but she can’t go in the way offered by Frau Hermann. This is also the book which Liesel read to Max whilst he was sick.

A Song in the Dark:
This is the book which Liesel read during the bombings. When Liesel started reading she brought peace to the shelter. Everyone stopped crying, talking, worrying and just listened. This book became to her what his accordion was to Hans Hubermann, her power to inspire people. Through her reading, people saw how words were destined to be Liesel’s power. It’s fitting that the book was named ‘A song in the dark’ because reading this book was Liesel’s song,  her song in the dark of the bomb shelter. “Out of respect, the adults kept everyone quiet, and Liesel finished chapter one of The Whistler.”

The Standover Man:
This is the book which Max gives Liesel as a late birthday present. He paints over pages of Mein Kampf to write and illustrate it. The book talks about all the people Max has had standing over him in his life, telling him what he should do, where he should go. They have all been bad standover men but “the best standover man I’ve ever known is not a man at all…” Max was scared of all the standover men before Liesel, or when he was hiding he was scared to sleep as he didn’t know who would be standing over him when he woke up. When he woke from sleeping for 3 days, after finding the hubermann’s, he didn’t find a man standing over him but young Liesel. The book shares his fears but also his story of becoming friends with Liesel.

Mein Kampf:
This book was Max’s saviour from getting caught on his way to Himmel street. He uses it to hide the key to the hubermann’s and as a camouflage so people would not think the he was a jew. Despite being his greatest enemy, hitler’s, biography probably talking about the aryan race, ridiculing Jewish people and culture it was used by him to escape the regime. Liesel asks Max if the book is good, “It’s the best book ever, it saved my life.” Max eventually rips pages out of the book, paints them white and writes the Standover Man as a late birthday present for Liesel. So the pages brought joy to a young girl, saved a Jews life and were meant to be propaganda against the Jews.

Characterisation in the book thief


Hans Hubermann is presented from the start as a kind, father like character. When Liesel won’t come out of the car when her mother first give her away, who was there to soothe her out: Hans. When Liesel starts having nightmares Hans is there to be her friend. “Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man’s gentleness.” Hans and Liesel become good friends because of how warm and kind Hans is. Liesel is a significant event in Hans’ life, it might be a way for him to try again in raising children as he might think he failed with his son. His son ridicules him for not joining the Nazi party, “It’s pathetic — how a man can stand by and do nothing as a whole nation cleans out the garbage and makes itself great.” Hans doesn’t join the nazi party because he doesn’t see anything wrong with the Jews. He thinks others are the pathetic ones for entirely disregarding citizens who have been living in their country for years. Markus put Hans in the book to help Liesel’s character mature, she becomes the thing he loves most and he, hers.


Liesel is 9 years old at the beginning of the book and has just lost her mother and brother. Therefore she is portrayed as a scared girl who is small in a large world. Liesel doesn’t know why her mother abandoned her but she decides that she wants to find her again someday. Her brother’s death effects Liesel quite deeply and she has nightmares all through the book. This is the first thing that connects her to Hans Hubermann, her adopted father. Hans starts coming in to comfort her when she has the nightmares. These times turn into midnight reading class when Hans realises Liesel can’t read. Liesel’s inability to read becomes a source of ridicule from her school-mates. The word communist turns up a few times in Liesel’s life: she hears people saying that her mother was a communist, when they are burning books on Hitlers birthday the guy speaking talks about communists being the enemy. Liesel’s book thievery began after her brother died one of the grave diggers dropped his manual. Liesel took the book as a reminder to herself of her brother when she lost him. She stole her second book rescuing it from the fires of the book burning. A big influence on her life was Rudy steiner.


Rudy was included in the book thief by Markus as a sort of alter ego to Liesel to help her grow. Rudy is the same age as Liesel but he is a very confident outspoken boy, the opposite if Liesel at the start of the book. He becomes Liesel’s only friend through persistence as she is very closed towards him. He brings her out of her shell so to speak. Rudy is known around the neighbourhood because of ‘The Jessie Owens incident.’ “Everyone in his family was crowded together in their living room… He pulled some charcoal from the stove… ‘Now,’ he smiled. He was ready.” Rudy idolised Jessie Owens, an afro-American athlete who competed in the 1936 olympics and won 4 gold medals. Rudy doused himself in charcoal to be black and reenacted the scene of Jessie winning the 100 meters to himself. Rudy and Liesel were complimentary; they brought out the best in each other. Rudy increased Liesel’s urge to steal and vice versa. Rudy only stole to quench his never failing hunger. Rudy judgement on a lot of things were based on whether or not he would be less hungry by the end of the task.


Rosa Hubermann is a stern, abusive lady when we first meet her. She likes to boss around Hans and Liesel and to address them as “Saumensch.” She has an arch nemesis who lives across the street, Frau Holtzapfel. Frau Holtzapfel spits on Rosa’s door every time she comes past and Rosa goes to the front door and yells extremities at her. We only see Rosa’s soft side when Max turns up on the scene. We think Rosa knows nothing about the idea of Max turning up when he does, but she takes it in her stride and only complains as a joke about having to feed another mouth. When Max gets sick Rosa looks after to him really well saying, “I didn’t take this man into my house to watch him die. Understand?” Rosa is determined not to let max die, she is also scared at the thought of what they will have to do with him if he does die. We know rosa has a heart, and a big one at that, when she comes to school to tell Liesel that Max has woken up. Also when Hans is drafted to the army Liesel spots her clutching his accordian, she misses him so deeply despite not saying so.


Max is a German Jew hiding from the Nazi party. When we first meet Max he is being hidden in his friends basement feeling guilty for leaving behind his mother and family to save himself. He and his friend are waiting to hear from Hans Hubermann who is their last hope to save Max from being ‘Taken Away.’ Max becomes Liesel’s second friend and a mentor. He is a very patient man to be able to live for months in a hole without seeing the outside world. The first time he did see the world during his stay with the Hubermann’s was during an air raid when everyone was down in their bunkers.”When everything was quiet, I went up to the corridor and the curtain in the living was open just a crack … I could see outside.” Max leaves the Hubermann’s as Hans fears that the police would come round. Max turns up later during the book when Liesel spots him in the crowd of parading Jews. He also turns up at the end of the book when the war is over he is let free from the concentration camp and comes back to Molching to find Liesel.

Additional Colour References

A Portrait of Pfiffikus

He was a delicate frame.
He was white hair.
He was a black raincoat,
brown pants, decomposing
shoes, and a mouth – and
what a mouth it was.

I find it very interesting how death describe Pfiffikus. Death doesn’t describe his clothes as being a colour, he describes him as being a colour and wearing clothes. This shows how death sees the colours first then the humans saying that Pfiffikus was a colour.